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Iowa State Fair Begins

John Pemble / IPR
Iowa State Fair CEO speaks during a rainy opening day ceremony.

During a rainy opening ceremony this morning, Iowa State Fair CEO Gary Slater highlighted some of the improvements to the grounds like expansions made to the grandstand.

“We’ve sold a record number of tickets already,” said Slater. “Over a 120,000 have seen sold beating last year’s by over 30,000 tickets.”

One of the groups performing at the grandstand is the Iowa heavy metal band Slipknot. The show sold out months ago, just a few days after tickets went on sale.

The 4-H building will undergo an extensive renovation for the 2020 fair. The work will be funded, in part, from the fair's largest-ever financial gift of $10 million from the Richard O. Jacobson Foundation. A groundbreaking ceremony will take place later this month.

The fair is known for large grandstand music performances, amusement park rides, and presidential candidates. Iowa State Fair President Dave Hoffman says fairgoers should also take time to see some of the 40,000 exhibits by younger Iowans.

“So if you see one of them with their exhibit and you like it give them a compliment,” says Hoffman. “Encouragement from all of us is important to them and they are our future.”

The 165th Iowa State Fair runs for 11 days.

John Pemble is a reporter for IPR